As a NYC parent, it can be overwhelming at times to choose from what feels like a limitless number of events for your kids. We all want to take full advantage of exposing our children to as much as possible, while doing our best to keep it fun and interesting for them. With all the city has to offer, children of all ages, it feels like each moment of every weekend can be filled with theater, art workshops, carnivals and visits to various playground and parks. So once in a while, it’s nice to do something that doesn’t require an exorbitantly priced ticket or a rigid starting time.
On a recent school break, we changed up a typical Museum visit. Before our jaunt to the MET, I stapled together a pile of blank white paper and made simple sketch booklets for each daughter (a crafty mom, I am not). Once inside the museum, I gave them their personalized booklets along with a brand new set of sharpened colored
pencils. They instantly felt like real artists.
My daughters were ecstatic to hear that there be no workshop or tour on our schedule, but instead, they were the leaders and the whole museum was their oyster! Without a map or a time limit, we set off to explore. I told them they could stop at any time to sketch or jot or discuss. We started with Egyptian Art and the great Temple of Dendur. One sketched the giant temple itself while the other focused on the coins in the reflecting pool. They sketched various bodies of armor and had questions and observations throughout.
We ended up in the bright and airy American Wing where they were dazzled by the colorful stained glass windows and beautiful sculptures. My big girl wrote detailed descriptions alongside her drawings while my little one created more ‘abstract’ pieces. It was interesting to see what sparked their interests and how each one was drawn to very different works of art.
We took a lunch break at the Café and compared one another’s sketches while people watching. We then made our way to the European Paintings section where we all fell in love with the beautiful impressionist collection. Along the way, we met several children who joined and sketched along with us. After a solid three hours of exploring (without ONE complaint- a record for sure!), their booklets were complete and we decided to call it a day. We ended the afternoon snacking on gourmet pretzels on the grand Museum steps, soaking in the sun while listening to a great acappela group belting out familiar tunes.
On the way home, both girls asked if we could go back soon and explore more. They proudly showed off their booklets to family and friends and now keep them in their treasured keepsake boxes. Our lives in the city are so busy and structured already, that this was a perfect way to expose them (and me) to art while letting them take the lead. It was a delightfully perfect NYC afternoon and we’re all looking forward to our next visit – wait until they see the sketching possibilities of the skyline from the rooftop!
Prior to becoming a stay at home mom, Mina was an HR Recruiter for years. Now her time is spent happily juggling the demands of two young daughters while trying to expose them to the endless adventures the city has to offer.
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